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« on: November 12, 2008, 01:51:27 AM »

Free Speech Now Welcome at Columbia College

by Staff
November 6, 2008

COLUMBIA, Calif., (christiansunite.com) -- The Campus Life Tour returned to the campus of Columbia College yesterday, just two months after three members were unanimously acquitted on criminal charges of causing a campus disturbance during their April 2007 visit. This time the group was greeted with open arms by the same college officials who had them arrested a year and a half ago. Campus Life Tour is a pro-life campus outreach project of Survivors, a Christian, pro- life activism organization dedicated to educating and activating high school and college age individuals. (www.survivors.la)

During the criminal trial, the judge declared the college's free speech policy unconstitutional because it required individuals to apply for a permit at least 15 business days prior to exercising their constitutional rights. Columbia College learned a hard lesson and took the court's ruling to heart. The public community college has changed its policy and now welcomes free speech advocates to its campus rather than censoring their message.

Upon arriving on campus yesterday, the Campus Life Tour was personally escorted to a particularly well- traveled area on campus by college officials. The team set up their displays, quietly held signs, distributed literature, and peacefully dialogued with students. "We were fiercely challenged by some contentious faculty members, but all in all, this was a victory for the constitution and free speech advocates everywhere," said Don Blythe, a local activist who was one of those arrested during the previous visit to Columbia College.

Allison K. Aranda, who defended the Survivors in the criminal trial, stated "It is always a great feeling when your clients' rights are vindicated. But, this is an example of true justice! To come full circle and see the Columbia College correct their unconstitutional policy and openly embrace, not only my clients', but every American citizen's First Amendment right to free speech restores a glimmer of hope in our country's public institutions of higher learning."

Executive Director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation, Dana Cody, commented on the situation at Columbia College stating, "Kudos to the campus administration for being so cooperative." Ms. Cody added, "This same outcome is exactly what we expect in the Alameda case we notified the media about yesterday. I predict that because of LLDF's efforts and Ms. Aranda's legal tenacity, during the next visit to the College of Alameda, their campus administration will welcome the Survivors with open arms."

Life Legal Defense Foundation, one of the organizations who partnered to defend the Survivors in this litigation, is a non-profit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens, committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information call Allison K. Aranda at 951-541- 9327.

http://news.christiansunite.com/Religion_News/religion07771.shtml

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